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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sibling(s) (05/01/08)

TITLE: Sisters' Secret Pact
By Dee Yoder


My sister and I walk along an ancient bauer’s* road to Steinwenden, the village where my military family lives in Germany. Visoring my eyes with my hand, I look ahead at the winding dirt lane cutting neatly between rye fields. Our little dachshund, Heidi, is straining at her leash, her nose quivering with anticipation of small prey in the ditches that line the road.

“You know Mom’s sending us to spend two weeks with Oma** and Opa*** in Bonn this summer,” my sister remarks casually.

“I heard her…and I’m NOT going.” The hot sun makes the back of my neck itch where my hair stretches tight against my head.

“What d’you mean, ‘ you’re not going’? You little dope, you can’t decide what you’re gonna do. You’re twelve.”

I shake my head, my ponytail swinging into my eyes. “I don’t care if I am twelve…I don’t want to go stay with that awful old man…he’s NOT my Opa.” My mom’s German mother just married again last year, and I can’t stand her new husband.

“He’s Oma’s husband, so that means he’s our Opa, Nit-Wit.” Sheryl digs the toes of her sandals into the soft dirt with each step. Little clouds of dust puffs float behind in her wake.

I seal my lips against the angry retort that is bursting to spill out. I imagine porcine features: the tiny beady eyes, the stubbly whiskered and flabby cheeks, and the pink skin of Oma’s husband, and my stomach flips. His hugs and slobbery kisses make my skin crawl.

“He’s a walking Porky Pig and he’s filthy disgusting!” I suddenly blurt out.

Sheryl stops short and regards me in surprise. Her eyes flick over my face, searching for an answer to my outburst.

“What’s the matter with you?” she asks quietly.

“Nothin’.” I hang my head. I can’t tell her anything he said to me the last time we were there, but I do know this: he’s not going to stop at words the next time.

“Lizzie, I know you don’t like him, but you should tell me why…I won’t tell Mom; I promise.”

I examine her earnest face and decide I can trust her-for once.

“He said nasty things to me the last time we were there. Things about…well…you know…things.

I look into her blue eyes and hope she can read my mind. Her eyes widen and then she purses her lips and squints. Usually when she looks at me like that, I duck.

“Never mind. I’ll take care of him.” Her determined words don’t calm my fears. She’s fifteen, but she’s still just a kid, so what can SHE do?

I pull Heidi out of a ditch and we walk on. Nothing else is said, but I feel a different kind of warmth in my heart as I glance at Sheryl, stalking determinedly beside me towards home.

Out of nowhere, a huge German shepherd intercepts Heidi, fiercely gnawing her head, rump, and tail while she tries to scurry away from him. Heidi is barking and growling, the big dog is snarling and snapping, and I’m trying to lift my pup above the reach of the huge dog’s teeth.

“Stop! Stop! You dumb dog…get away!” but the shepherd doesn’t lessen his attack. His saliva wets my cheek, and I have a sudden fear that he will bite me as well as Heidi.

“Halt! Halt! Halt!” I hear above the noise of the fighting animals. The German shepherd’s ears twitch backward toward Sheryl’s stern voice. He turns his head and stares at my sister. She walks toward him, commanding him, in German, to leave off the attack. Suddenly, he drops his head, his tail between his legs, and slumps to the ground.

I sigh and scoop Heidi to my chest, examining her glossy coat for injuries. A farmer, leash dangling in his hands, and out of breath from the chase, runs to us and coaxes his dog away, apologizing in German for his pet’s “schlectes*” behavior.

Sheryl reaches out to stroke Heidi’s soft head. “He didn’t know English, Lizzie. You were shouting at him in English.”

“Oh.” My face flames at the realization. She shrugs as she reaches out to smooth my messy bangs. I lift my head and look at Sheryl’s calm face. She looks older, somehow.

“Don’t worry, Lizzie. I’ll find a way to tell Mom we don’t want to go to Bonn this summer.”

I place Heidi down on the dusty road, and we meander home in the sunshine.

(* bauer - farmer ** Oma - Grandma ***Opa - Grandpa)

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This article has been read 1073 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 05/09/08
Great interaction between the sisters, and the dialog is just right. This felt so authentic. Love the dog addition, too. Very nicely done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/10/08
Your characterization here is excellent. You did a great job of showing the strength of the older sister and the reason the younger could trust in her.
Jan Ackerson 05/12/08
Ooh, excellent--the sister as protector, and she proves that she can do it in the encounter with the dog. Great job with setting and mood, a strong entry.
Sharlyn Guthrie05/12/08
You are a master of detail! The use of a few German words adds atmosphere and interest to your story. I like how you show that a new level of relationship has formed between the sisters. Very nice!
Laury Hubrich 05/12/08
This story is good. I love it. I love the protective nature of the older sister. Truly great writing!
Beth LaBuff 05/13/08
I love this word, "visoring"! And I had to smile at your use of the word "porcine". So, did the new Opa speak in German to the younger sister (and she didn't understand him)? I love your use of German in this!
Patty Wysong05/13/08
The details in this are so rich and true. I felt like I was walking along with them. The mood and feelings are so evident they simply ooze out. Excellent.
Betty Castleberry05/13/08
A sister-protector...perfect! This is expertly written. The details put right me right in the middle of things. Thumbs up!
Peter Stone05/13/08
The touches of German, with a dog that only responds to the language it knows, against a backdrop of personal suffering, was moving. The conclusion was good too, with the older sister protecting the younger one.
RuthAnn Cornelson05/14/08
Really loved this story. I always wished for a sister and this made me wish it even more. Very enjoyable and gripping read.
Debbie Wistrom05/14/08
I like the determination of the 12-year old.

The dog's gnawing was quite jarring. Great Job!

LauraLee Shaw05/14/08
Oh, I love, Love, LOVE this!!! You are so creative and clever...
Marita Vandertogt05/14/08
You always give your characters such life - I really loved this... excellent job.
Mariane Holbrook 05/14/08
I had a sister like this so this was an especially good read for me. Great job!
Sara Harricharan 05/14/08
I'm glad those sisters have each other! I really liked the touches of culture too, with the German words and especially the key at the bottom. This was pretty good! ^_^
Angela M. Baker-Bridge05/14/08
Great story telling! You pulled me right into their world.
Loren T. Lowery05/14/08
I really like the way you gave the older sister insights into the situation and how the younger girl could in the end trust her. The nuances were perfect and the setting to tell the story flowed naturally making the unfolding scene very real.
Lyn Churchyard05/14/08
So well written, the dialogue, the descriptions, the atmosphere all combined to make a captivating story. Well done!
Yvonne Blake 05/14/08
good dialogue and characterization.
Well done
Joshua Janoski05/15/08
I am glad that the older sister was looking out for her younger sibling. I could picture the girls walking down the road having the conversation. Nicely done.